Farewell and the period of new China. Through

Farewell my Concubine is a famous movie directed by Chen Kaige. The movie presents
the lives of two men against the historical backdrop of a country in upheaval.
The movie has received a lot of praise and rewarded many prizes.

The whole movie can be
divided into three periods: the republican period, the period of anti-Japanese war,
and the period of new China.
Through these periods, the two main characters provided us with a touching
epic. The film spans fifty-three years, presenting the lives of two men against
the historical backdrop of a country in upheaval.

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In 1924’s Beijing, Die Yi
and Xiao Lou were brought together under the thumb of the strict master of a
small acting troupe. Thirteen years later, their suffering has paid off. They become
opera stars. Die Yi was so into the character and has gradually developed a
deep dependence on Xiao Lou, he was so jealous that decided to break with Xiao
Lou when Xiao Lou fell in love with Ju Xian. Then the Japanese came into the
town, Xiao Lou went to prison because of refusing to perform. To save Xiao Lou,
Die Yi performed” the Peony Pavilion” to the Japanese. End of the war, Die Yi
was accused as a traitor for performing to Japanese. After the liberation,
Peking Opera was not taken seriously. During the Cultural Revolution, people
turned against each other, Ju Xian hanged herself in the end. 11 years later,
they performed the “Farewell My Concubine” again, Die Yi killed himself in the
performance.

Ju Xian is not a main
hero of the movie, so most of the comments and critics about the movie are
about the two leading roles—Xiao Lou and Die Yi. However, after watching the
movie, I think Ju Xian is my favorite character. Her wise, her kindness, her
loyalty of love and her miserable fate all impressed me deeply. When Ju Xian
first shows in the movie, her identity is a prostitute, which is no doubt an
ignominious job, but she is different, she is aggressive and brave. When being
asked to accompany with the people she doesn’t like, she refuses resolutely and
jumps from the third floor. When she finds that Xiao Lou wants to bring her out
of that place and marry her, Ju Xian immediately abandons all her property and
go to find Xiao Lou. Her decision is quite brave and determined. She always
follows her heart and goes to find the right one in her life! Later, Ju Xian
and Xiao Lou get married; her identity becomes the wife of Xiao Lou. In fact,
Ju Xian is a good wife. She is a cleaver woman. When compete with her rival Die
Yi, the partner of Xiao Lou, she also takes some measures to guard her love.
She is a devoted woman. When Xiao Lou is caught by the Japanese army, Ju Xian
went to Die Yi for help, because she knows that Die Yi is the only one who can
save her husband. At that time, Die Yi asks her to leave Xiao Lou; otherwise he
will not save her husband. Ju Xian agrees his requirement. She is a selfish
woman. She loves Xiao Lou and occupied him. When compete with Die Yi who also
loves Xiao Lou, she spares no sympathy and asks her husband to keep away from
Die Yi as far as possible. Ju Xian is a simple woman. At the night of their
wedding, Ju Xian sits in front of the mirror and says, almost to herself, what
she wants is to live a simple and happy life with her husband and then give
birth to a baby. During which time, she murmurs “no opera again” twice. From
this scene, we can find that Ju Xian really a simple woman, she doesn’t want
much wealth or enjoyment. In fact, her only wish is to live simply and happily.
Singing operas brings her family a lot of income, but setbacks as well. So, she
wants Xiao Lou to abandon that. She is a loyal woman. Ju Xian used to be a
prostitute, but after her marriage with Xiao Lou, she shows her love and
loyalty from beginning to end. When Xiao Lou is beaten by the soldiers, she went
to help him regardless of her pregnancy; when Xiao Lou is caught by the
Hongweibing, she embraced him on the street, all the trash and garbage throwing
on her body; when Xiao Lou said he doesn’t love her, Ju Xian’s world collapsed
and committed suicide, she cannot accept the fact that her beloved husband does
not love her.

As a modernism film, the
character of Ju Xian shows a lot of features of the post modernism. In this
movie, the character of Ju Xian is complicated. She used to be a prostitute,
but she has her own dignity and is faithful to her husband. She is selfish, but
she is willing to do everything for her husband. She has a wise brain, but her
husband still shouted, “I do not love her, I have made a clear break with her!”
under pressure, which breaks her heart. The complication and contradiction of a
heroine shows the concept of anti-tradition, which is an important feature of
post modernism. Besides, the tragic ending of Ju Xian is also a challenge of
the traditional representations of a woman. According to the film, Ju Xian is
blindness in pursuing love, for she chooses Xiao Lou, an actor of Peking Opera,
as her husband at the first sight without any further understanding of his
personality and characteristic. Moreover, she is dependent upon the patriarchal
society, for she keeps helping her husband in doing things instead of finding a
job of herself. With no economic income, Ju Xian has no other choices than
following her husband’s steps. Furthermore, Ju Xian didn’t realize her own
value. From the talk between her and Yuan Shiqing when she tries to save Die Yi
we can find she is a woman with great wise. So, Ju Xian can carry out a lot of
things which may provide more help to her family. But she didn’t realize her
value, which indirectly result in her tragedy. In fact, these are common
characteristics of most of the traditional women. So, this film criticizes the
traditional concept of woman and appeals for women’s liberation, which is also
a display of modernism.

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